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Preston 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

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Preston 0 - 3 Tottenham Hotspur

Preston 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur. Son Heung-min said he needed his two stunning goals against Preston in order to boost his confidence as he helped Tottenham reach the FA Cup fifth round.

The South Korean won the Premier League Golden Boot with 23 goals last season but has so far struggled to match that form in 2022-23.

The 30-year-old was inspired at Deepdale, belting in a 30-yard strike to break the deadlock on 50 minutes.

“I needed those goals for my confidence,” Son told BBC Sport.

“As a striker or as an attacking player, the important thing is that you get that goal. It’s important that I could help the team go to the next round. I’m very, very happy.”

After his opener Son soon doubled the advantage, turning and finishing smartly amid torrential rain.

Arnaut Danjuma, signed on loan from Villarreal this week, completed the scoring after coming on as a late substitute.

Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini praised Son after the game, saying: “Sonny is a great player.

“He has to wait for the right moment to find the space. He was very focused on the match. He had to wait for the right time to do a good job.”

Antonio Conte’s side goes into the draw for the fifth round, which takes place on Monday evening.

Conte made seven changes to the Spurs starting XI which beat Fulham 1-0 in the Premier League on Monday, including leaving Harry Kane on the bench.

Kane is aiming to become Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer and is level with Jimmy Greaves on 266 goals but had been struggling with illness this week, missing training on Wednesday and Thursday.

Alongside him on the bench was new signing Danjuma, but the Spurs side still contained first-teamers such as Son and Dejan Kulusevski – and they started the game on the front foot.

Kulusevski had a shot brilliantly blocked by midfielder Ryan Ledson while home goalkeeper Freddie Woodman made two fine saves from long-range Son efforts.

They had more than three-quarters of the possession in the opening 20 minutes, however, Preston grew into the game and began to restrict Spurs as the game wore on.

A three-man midfield of Ledson, Ben Whiteman, and Ali McCann gave Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma little time or space to create.

It took until the opening minutes of the second half for Preston’s resolve to be broken, with Son pulling out a moment of quality to remind fans why he was the Premier League Golden Boot winner last season.

His seventh of this campaign was arguably his best, as he found space 30 yards out before curling an unstoppable strike past Woodman.

Preston raised their game after falling behind and gave Tottenham a much tougher test than when they last met – a 5-1 defeat in a 2009 EFL Cup meeting.

However, Son killed the game after 69 minutes, spinning off Jordan Storey after receiving an Ivan Perisic pass and firing past Woodman.

Conte was then able to switch up his squad, including giving a debut to Danjuma – while Kane was able to remain an unused sub.

And Danjuma, who signed for Spurs having appeared to be on the verge of joining Everton, scored 15 minutes into his first appearance as he turned in a low Kulusevski cross before celebrating with the away fans.

Stellini added: “We’re looking forward to working with Danjuma. It’s a good start for him. He’s a good guy. He needs time to understand everything but it’s important to start well in this type of competition.”

While Spurs have reached the last 16 of the FA Cup they remain in a fight to reach their Premier League aims, trailing fourth-placed Manchester United by three points. A meeting with Manchester City next weekend could be pivotal for their ambitions.

“When you look at the scoresheet it looks like a comfortable win, but the FA Cup has never been comfortable,” Son added. “We suffered a lot away from home. The lads did an amazing job.

“There’s a lot to talk about our performance, but we were focused and did what we had to do.

“We can still improve so much. I think this game can give us good energy and let’s move on to next weekend.”

source – BBC

English Premier League

Arsenal 4 – 1 Newcastle United

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Arsenal 4 - 1 Newcastle United

Arsenal underlined their Premier League title credentials as they recorded their sixth consecutive win with a dominant display against Newcastle.

The result sees Mikel Arteta’s side sit two points behind leaders Liverpool and a point behind second-placed Manchester City at the top of the table.

The outcome of this contest appeared inevitable from the moment visiting defender Sven Botman turned the ball in after Gabriel’s header from a corner had been well saved by Newcastle goalkeeper Loris Karius.

While there was an element of bad luck to that for the Dutch defender, who simply could not get out of the way as his Newcastle team-mate Tino Livramento tried to clear, there was little else about Arsenal’s performance that was owed to good fortune.

The Gunners’ intensity and fluent passing repeatedly carved Eddie Howe’s side apart, particularly down the Magpies’ left flank with Livramento and Botman enduring difficult evenings.

Kai Havertz swept in a deserved second shortly after, with Gabriel Martinelli making the most of indecision in the Newcastle defence to cut the ball back into the German forward’s path.

With Arsenal continuing to press, Bukayo Saka twisted and turned Livramento one way and then another before dispatching a left-foot shot into the bottom left corner add to the hosts’ advantage.

Arteta also enjoyed the luxury of being able to take off his captain Martin Odegaard, Havertz and Saka well before full-time after Jakub Kiwior’s effort deflected past the helpless Karius from another Declan Rice corner.

Newcastle, who remain eighth in the table, managed a late consolation courtesy of Joe Willock’s looping header, but there was little else for the visiting supporters to cheer.

-BBC

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English Premier League

AFC Bournemouth 0 – 1 Manchester City

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AFC Bournemouth 0 - 1 Manchester City

Manchester City moved a point behind Premier League leaders Liverpool with a hard-fought victory over Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium.

City started slowly but took the lead midway through the first half when Phil Foden steered home after Erling Haaland’s shot was saved by Neto.

The visitors dominated the rest of the half but were fortunate not to be pegged back early in the second, Marcus Tavernier scuffing a shot into the ground from Antoine Semenyo’s cross before shooting wide after fine work from Dominic Solanke.

Solanke had a header punched off the line by Ederson as Bournemouth continued to apply pressure, while Haaland had another shot saved by Neto with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Second-half substitute Enes Unal headed agonisingly wide in stoppage time for the hosts, as City held on to consolidate second place ahead of crucial games at home to Manchester United and away to Liverpool in early March.

Bournemouth, now without a win in their last seven league matches, stay eight points above the relegation zone but drop a place to 14th.

Champions get job done

Pep Guardiola’s team were made to work hard for three points against Brentford on Tuesday, and they were perhaps a little fortunate to get the win from a testing encounter at Vitality Stadium.

Haaland got the all-important goal against the Bees and the Norwegian should have given the visitors the lead here, sending a right-footed shot off target after running on to Foden’s exquisite cushioned pass.

Haaland was denied by Neto midway through the first half, but Foden – who has now scored in his past five appearances against the Cherries – was on hand to guide home his 16th goal of the season. That is his joint-most in a single campaign.

John Stones, operating in a more advanced role than usual, was outstanding in the first half in particular, repeatedly marauding upfield and almost setting up Rodri for a second City goal not long after Foden’s opener.

The visitors rode their luck after half-time as Bournemouth pushed for an equaliser, with a combination of wasteful finishing by the hosts and smart goalkeeping from Ederson securing City a hard-earned three points.

City have won all 14 of their Premier League games against the Cherries – the best 100% record by one team against another in top-flight history.

Their next five league matches – all against teams currently in the top seven – will go a long way to defining their campaign.

-BBC

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English Premier League

Manchester United 1 – 2 Fulham

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Manchester United 1 - 2 Fulham

Manchester United were given a harsh reality check at Old Trafford as Alex Iwobi’s injury-time effort gave Fulham only their second Old Trafford victory since 1963.

Four days after new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe spoke of United attempting to knock Manchester City and Liverpool off their perch at the top of the English game, they suffered a major blow to their hopes of Champions League qualification.

Without injured striker Rasmus Hojlund, the hosts were ineffective in attack until the final minute of normal time, when Harry Maguire seemed to have rescued a point for the hosts.

But Iwobi had the final say deep into nine minutes of stoppage time, restoring an advantage initially given to them by Nigeria defender Calvin Bassey, who lashed home the loose ball after his header from a Fulham corner had been blocked by team-mate Timothy Castagne.

The result ended a run of 11 Premier League away games without a win for the west London outfit. Prior to this contest, only Sheffield United had a worse top-flight away record this term.

Neither the defeat nor, more importantly, the performance, will give anyone the belief United will achieve Ratcliffe’s lofty aims any time soon.

A sobering reality
There have been a lot of bold claims out of Old Trafford this week.

Ratcliffe has spoken of challenging for major trophies, while Ten Hag has outlined how he and the new co-ownership are aligned in their thinking and the overall direction is positive.

There is nothing like a miserable grey, cold, wet Manchester day to add a large dollop of reality to the situation United find themselves in.

With injury consigning in-form Hojlund to the directors’ box, Marcus Rashford was forced to plough a lone furrow up front and made little impact. Ten Hag gave 19-year-old Omari Forson his first start rather than bring in underperforming £82m Brazilian Antony, while Victor Lindelof filled in at left-back in the absence of Luke Shaw, who is set to miss the remainder of the campaign with a muscle problem.

The performance did not smack of a side capable of securing Champions League football next season, which Ratcliffe has made a priority, let alone threatening Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, who are a long way ahead on this evidence.

Ineos head of sport – and new United football club director – Sir Dave Brailsford was at Old Trafford to see United roar back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa on Boxing Day, one of two occasions this season when they had rolled back the years to produce a comeback of thrilling defiance.

When Maguire pounced in the final minute of normal time, it seemed another might be on the cards. United hardly deserved parity. Other than a first-half Diogo Dalot shot that flicked off the outside of a post, Marcus Rashford’s angled effort that Leno saved and a Maguire header that sailed over the bar, they had done little of any effectiveness around the Fulham box.

As it turned out, it was to be Fulham who had the final word. Today, there was no papering over the Old Trafford cracks.

A famous Fulham win
It is almost 12 months since Fulham’s visit to this stadium for an FA Cup tie that ended in chaos as manager Marco Silva and two of his players were sent off, and what was shaping up to be a famous victory turned into a controversial defeat.

While the visitors mercifully avoided any repeat of that discipline breakdown, they were forced to endure more frustration in a first half they dominated without being able to take one of the numerous chances that came their way.

In exploiting the space available in front of the United backline in transition, Fulham were given the freedom to get clear sights of goal.

Iwobi had two opportunities, the second in particular he should have done better with. Andre Onana saved from Rodrigo Muniz and former United midfielder Andreas Pereira. The Cameroon keeper probably earned his luck in the first instance, when the rebound struck Sasa Lukic at close range and the ball bounced inches wide.

Muniz, aiming to become the fourth Fulham player – after Louis Saha, Collins John and Manor Solomon – to score in four successive Premier League games, rolled Lindelof in the penalty area, then fired against the outside of a post with Onana beaten.

At the interval, the fear among the visiting contingent must have been that, after being so flat for so long, their hosts had to improve.

But they didn’t and Bassey lashed home his first Fulham goal with a decisiveness lacking from United’s play.

Even after Maguire’s leveller, Fulham would not be denied as Iwobi finally found the target to give the Cottagers a famous win.

-BBC

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